Mindfulness for Leaders and Clinicians- Dr Nicholas Beecroft

Mindfulness for Leaders and Clinicians- Dr Nicholas Beecroft

Posted On: January 21, 2015
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“Mindfulness” is becoming a fashionable buzzword. However, there’s nothing new about it. It is part of human nature itself.  Mindfulness means paying attention, with intention, to the world as it is with an attitude of equanimity. This means that one focuses one’s attention upon some of the huge array of sensations arising from within ourselves internally and as a result of our sensing the outside world. Equanimity means the attitude of neither craving pleasant sensations nor having aversion to unpleasant sensations.

To extent we have to be non-mindful in order to survive. At any time there is a vast amount of information available to us and there’s no way which we could possibly attend to it all. However, in Western civilisation we have a tendency to bias our attention towards a mind, ego, thoughts and external objects. We therefore don’t make the most of the rest of our body, our heart, gut, intuition, sensing, energetic awareness and so on. In addition, we tend to intentionally anaesthetise ourselves with television, junk food, addictions, the Internet, travel, workaholism and so on.

We are all mindful from time to time. Sometimes we are awakened by threats such as illness, accident is, threats to our physical security. We have peak experiences such as great sex, fantastic food and celebrations. Nature often brings us to be more mindful whether it be a sunset, sitting round the campfire, walking along the beach watching the  waves or playing whether child. We engineer mindful experiences on purpose such as weddings, funerals and Christmas.

There is now a lot of evidence now that mindfulness brings great benefits. For anyone who practices mindfulness, this evidence comes from the direct experience of the benefits in real life. Other evidence comes from the wisdom passed down through tradition built up over centuries or millennia such as the meditation practice in Buddhism, tai chi, Tantra and martial arts. In the last 30 years of so there’s been raft of scientific evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness practice including mindfulness-based stress reduction which is an 8 week introductory course taught in small groups for one half day a week. This course has been shown to have profound benefits in increasing health, happiness, leadership skills, resilience, freedom, self-discipline, presence, improved eating habits, better self-mastery, reduced relapse of depression and even increased fighting ability of US Marines.

Mindfulness comes in a vast number of forms including meditations such as meditations upon the breath, body scan, heart, anger, gut, eating, sounds and visualisations. Movements can be mindful such as walking meditation, 5 rhythms dancing, martial arts and movement medicine. One can meditate upon compassion, prayer or particular intention. Energetics is mindfulness of energy and higher consciousness.  Tantra is mindfulness in the sexual and interpersonal realm. Many people use mindfulness with nature including animals such as equine facilitated learning.

Mindfulness has many clinical applications. For example, to the way in which we respond pain, anxiety, mood changes, external events and cravings have a massive impact on our clinical state. It can make all the difference between being disabled and not disabled and determine one’s quality of life.

The attached podcast is a recording of a lecture which I gave entitled “Mindfulness for Leaders and Clinicians.” in include some practical examples including breathing meditation, heart meditation, eating meditation and awareness of one’s interpersonal presence. The purpose of the lecture was to give an introduction to mindfulness to whet the appetite and to encourage people to explore for themselves.

The many links below include a huge range of different types of mindfulness practices which you can explore. Towards the bottom is a list of some of the academic research on the efficacy of mindfulness.

Mindfulness References and Resources

Introduction Self-Help guide

Simple first stop for a basic overview and summary.

Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world

Professor Mark Williams’ 8 week course on audio book for the general population

Meditation in a New York Minute- Mark Thornton

If you are way too busy, here’s a way to do mindfulness on-the-go, integrated into the day

 

Mindful Leadership & Self-Mastery

Three Levels of Power and How to Use Them, Carolyn Myss

Excellent audio book

The Three Levels of Intuition, Carolyn Myss:

Excellent audio book

Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations and Society

Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Jaworski

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Practising the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind by Nancy Kline

 

Vipassana Meditation

Goenke’s 10 day courses at Dipa Dhamma

 

Heart meditation

Open Heart Meditation Free Downloads

Excellent download MP3

The Institute of HeartMath Research Center

The Heartmath Solution: The Institute of Heartmath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence

by Doc Childre, Howard Martin

 

Mindful eating

Center for Mindful Eating

MIT Eating Healthfully

Download Hunger scale and Eating Journal

 

CAMP system for mindful eating

 

Voice dialogue Technique

Embracing Our Selves: Voice Dialogue Manual by Hal Stone, Sidra Winkelman

Highly recommended way to integrate your inner selves.

Voice Dialogue Articles

By Hal Stone, Ph.D. and Sidra Stone, Ph.D.

See also their videos to describe the technique

Big Mind, Big Heart

Excellent application of Voice Dialogue technique to expand into higher states of consciousness.

 

Neuroscience of Mindfulness

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6Q0G1iHBI

The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation by Shanida Nataraja

 

Gut Psychology

Gut Instinct: What Your Stomach is Trying to Tell You: 7 easy steps to health and healing by Pierre Pallardy

Excellent practical book

Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making by Gerd Gigerenzer

Interesting, biased heavily to unconscious cognitions

The Second Brain by Michael D. Gershon

Heavy going but full of scientific detail

 

Compassion

Compassionate Mind Foundation

Dr Paul Gilbert- check out his excellent book which is both knowledgeable and practical

 

Enlightenment Intensives

An excellent one of many providers of this intense 3 day Zen/group dynamic training.

 

Energetics

Soleira Green- New Visionaries & Practical Energetics.

This is a very rich resource indeed .If you’re initially off-put by the website style, so was I. Take a deeper look. It’s brilliant stuff.

Advanced Energy Anatomy

Carolyn Myss- excellent. I wish it had been taught at my Medical School.

Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith

Absolutely fascinating book which integrates Western knowledge of anatomy, physiology, neurology, endocrinology with Eastern wisdom about energetics from the Indian Chakra system, Chinese Chi system etc. 

 

The Feminine, The Masculine and Community

Culture of Honouring

Evolutionary-edge project to empower the conscious, masculine and feminine in individuals, couples and community. 

Mankind Project

Global organisation providing organic leadership training for men. 

 

Equine Facilitated Learning

As Winston Churchill said, “You can learn a lot about the inside of a man from the outside of a horse.”

 

Tantra & Relationships

Great teachers & courses:

Jan Day

Living Love, Jewels Wingfield

Tantra Essence- Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita

Interesting books:

The Heart of Tantric Sex by Diana Richardson

Tantric Quest: An Encounter with Absolute Love by Daniel Odier

 

Integrating the body

Movement Medicine

Hard to put into words, great to experience, have a go.

5-Rhythms

Improvised Mindful dancing running through a series of moods

Integration training

Mark integrates the body with the mind & spirit in leadership training.

 

Clinical Applications:

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

University of Massachusetts Medical School

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

(includes Guided Meditation Practices CD) by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Excellent book for relapse prevention in depression and interesting to a much wider audience.

 

Leading UK Teaching centres of MBCT:

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

The Oxford Mindfulness Centre

Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University

 

Systematic reviews of the scientific evidence

Chiesa A, Serretti A.  Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2009; 15(5): 593-600

Kuyken W, Byford S, Taylor R S, Watkins E, Holden E, White K, Barrett B, Byng R, Evans A, Mullan E, Teasdale J D. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2008; 76(6): 966-978

Winbush N Y, Gross C R, Kreitzer M J.  The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep disturbance: a systematic review. Explore: Journal of Science and Healing 2007; 3(6): 585-591

Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2004; 57(1): 35-43

Baer R A. Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 2003; 10(2): 125-143

Ospina MB, Bond K, Karkhaneh M, Buscemi N, Dryden DM, Barnes V, Carlson LE, Dusek JA, Shannahoff-Khalsa D. Clinical trials of meditation practices in health care: characteristics and quality. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Dec;14(10):1199-213.

Wang WC, Zhang AL, Rasmussen B, Lin LW, Dunning T, Kang SW, Park BJ, Lo SK.  The effect of Tai Chi on psychosocial well-being: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies 2009; 2(3): 171-181

 

Randomised controlled trials

Barnhofer T, Crane C, Hargus E, Amarasinghe M, Winder R, Williams JM. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a treatment for chronic depression: A preliminary study. Behav Res Ther 2009 May;47(5):366-73.

Hepburn SR, Crane C, Barnhofer T, Duggan DS, Fennell MJ, Williams JM. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may reduce thought suppression in previously suicidal participants: findings from a preliminary study. Br J Clin Psychol 2009 Jun;48(Pt 2):209-15.

Huffziger S, Kuehner C. Rumination, distraction, and mindful self-focus in depressed patients. Behav Res Ther 2009 Mar;47(3):224-30.

Kitsumban V, Thapinta D, Sirindharo PB, Anders RL. Effect of cognitive mindfulness practice program on depression among elderly thai women. Thai Journal of Nursing Research 2009;13(2):95-108.

Kingston J, Chadwick P, Meron D et al (2007) A pilot randomized control trial investigating the effect of mindfulness practice on pain tolerance, psychological well-being, and physiological activity. J Psychosom Res 62(3): 297–300.

McCracken LM, Gauntlett-Gilbert J & Vowles KE (2007) The role of mindfulness in a contextual cognitivebehavioral analysis of chronic pain-related suffering and disability. Pain 131(1-2): 63–9.

Segal, Z., Teasdale, J. & Williams, M. (2002). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. New York, New York: Guilford Press.